Nearly 50 opioid overdose deaths in Jefferson County just one month into the new year

Overdose deaths in Jefferson County
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 8:49 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2023 at 10:38 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Officials said there are an alarming number of opioid overdose deaths in Jefferson County, only one month into the new year.

Jefferson County Coroner Bill Yates said they have already seen 47 suspected fatal overdoses so far this year. Officials are just waiting on lab reports to confirm the deaths. But, Yates said if it is truly 47 deaths in just one month, that is higher than they’ve seen in years. He said there’s no clear answer as to why.

We have to compare these numbers back to 2021, because officials are still finalizing the month by month data for last year. Yates said if confirmed, 47 overdose deaths in one month is higher than any of the months in 2021. He said back then, they would average anywhere from 24 overdoses a month to 44 overdoses a month. He said some months just have higher numbers than others and they haven’t found a pattern.

“It could be just one of those months that we have this year that is just higher,” Yates said. “By no means is it a trend at this point, if we continue this, that would be very significant. I think it is really too early to sound the alarm, but that is a lot. That is a lot for us, for Jefferson County, for any given month.”

Yates is still working to break down all of the monthly data for last year. He said that will be ready by April. But right now, we do know there were 417 confirmed drug overdoses last year. Yates said they expect that number to grow as results keep coming in.

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